Kaw River Wings by Denise Low

Buzzard shadows stencil fog—

    wings overlapping

    Eagle’s black shadow

summer hunter

winter hunter

How do I love thee?

    What clock ticks the paces

    one heart to the next

    wingbeats invisible

    to the naked eye?

Below live the mussels

    Ouichita and Pink Paper

    with wings of thin shell

shining rosy flanges

    immersed in mud.

My armspan is a forgotten     

    measure like a cubit—

    half-length of a hand.

    My shoulderblades clasp

    paired muscle wings.


Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light: Poems. Other books are Turtle’s Beating Heart, memoir (U. of Nebraska Press) and Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan). She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and other recognition. She teaches in Baker University’s MLA program. www.deniselow.net

Monthly Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.



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